Ray Blk – Durt review

Ray Blk is a badass. The south London MC and singer has been honing her skills in the school of life, and came through this year with scorching songs that have won her plaudits galore, including MOBO nominations as well as a place on the BBC Sound of 2017 list. Continue reading

In Praise of Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean - 2012 press photo 01 (1448x815)It’s incredible how little I have written about Frank Ocean considering how many times I have played his music over the last four years, and how deeply it has touched me. Following the release of his second album, Blonde, in August, it’s high time I remedied this fact with a piece in praise of this singular artist. Continue reading

Daughter – Not to Disappear review

Daughter 2015 press photo (800x450)Daughter’s 2013 album, If You Leave, was a graceful arrival by frontwoman Elena Tonra, guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella. And who can forget the group’s killer cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’. Three years on, Not to Disappear is a record of boy problems and a stride for independence. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Millie Jackson – Still Caught Up

Spring Records, 1975Millie Jackson - Still Caught Up (1280x720)

Millie Jackson will make you blush. We’re used to the idea of Marvin Gaye, Ike Turner or Bobby Womack hollering passionately about how much they’re yearning to get on down with their respective ladies. But when it comes to soul sisters, mainstream radio, and society in general, seems far less tolerant of the women of this era expressing their experience of love and desire in an equally candid manner, lest it shatter their demure professional persona. Coming from a young black woman, Jackson’s raunchy soul music – along with kindred spirit, Betty Davis – almost certainly broke sex and relationship taboos in music during the 70s, and remains an empowering step for female artists*. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: S Club 7 – S Club

Polydor Records, 1999S Club 7, press photo 2002 - Don't Stop Movin' (1024x576)This month sees the return of a pop band that signifies my generation is now firmly in the category of ‘nostalgia marketing’ in the eyes of the music industry: S Club 7. The announcement last November that Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Rachel Stevens, Jo O’Meara, Hannah Spearritt, Bradley McIntosh and Jon Lee would be returning – with a reunion performance on BBC Children in Need and a 2015 UK tour – sent ripples of ecstasy through my Facebook feed (occupied, as it is, nowadays by engagements, work outings and the occasional overboard night out). Continue reading

Interstellar review – boldly goes where no father-daughter story has gone before

Interstellar_film_2014_01 (1920x1080)Space is a cold, lonely place. Which is why, whenever filmmakers blast actors into the fictional heavens in search of strange new worlds, they’re always after focal points that will make events more human.

That’s certainly director Christopher Nolan’s aim with Interstellar, a film of humongous scope that boldly goes forth to tell another tale of mankind’s struggle for survival, but is ultimately about a father-daughter relationship. Continue reading

Africa is in the detail: Mother of George

For a film about pressure there’s a tremendous amount of pleasure to be had from seeing Mother of George.

Director Andrew Dosunmu and cinematographer Bradford Young are committed to telling this story of an African couple’s struggle to bear a child in scintillating detail, as if it were some fleeting waking dream caught on camera and slowed down to slideshow pace. Continue reading